Conservative councillor criticises £8.4 million purchase of Europa Building in Birkenhead by Wirral Council
A collaborative investigation with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism on investments in property by local councils has highlighted that the largest purchase by Wirral Council last year (approved by Wirral Council’s Cabinet) was the Europa Building in Birkenhead for £8.4 million (pictured above).
Despite borrowing the £8.4 million purchase price on the basis that Wirral Council would receive a return on its investment from tenants, it was recently added by the Cabinet to the long list of properties as part of the Wirral Growth Company project.
At a special meeting of Wirral Council’s Cabinet earlier this year at Wirral Metropolitan College Labour Leader of the Council Cllr Phil Davies (pictured above) speaking about the Wirral Growth Company said, “This is a completely different model where we put our assets, our land and assets into a Growth Company and our private sector developer investment partner brings the resources and the expertise so that for me is a perfect partnership.”
However not every councillor on Wirral Council approved of Wirral Council borrowing money to purchase property. In March 2018, Whip of the Conservative Opposition Group Cllr Chris Blakeley (pictured above) said, “Yet having divested itself of so many assets, this Council has put its hands in its pockets and it can come up with over £8 million of council taxpayers’ money to buy the Europa Building and Wilkinsons. £8.4 million with Mecca Bingo playing county mounty with council taxpayers’ money Madam Mayor. It’s not bad it can find over £8 million for a Council that says it’s got no money! You know it either has or it hasn’t! It can’t contradict itself!”
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